Living in a small fishing village far from the big city the little girl’s life was sweet and simple. Her father was a handsome hard working fisherman. Then tragedy struck. A man high on shabu murdered her father. Their only source of income was gone.
With no education or job skills her mother was forced to break up the family and go to the big city to find work. She sent back what money she could but there was never enough. Finally at age eight the little girl went to work doing laundry and other household chores. The following years were virtual slavery. Most of the time she got only one or two hours sleep. Often she was not paid but just allowed to sleep on the floor and eat leftovers. As she grew and became more attractive her problems increased. If she was not fighting off the sexual advances of her employer she was fired by the wife in fear that she would stop fighting.
Finally at seventeen she ran away to the big city to find real work for real money. She worked as a store clerk, waitress and even an untrained caregiver.
Her patient, an American, was dying of lung cancer. She made sure he was fed and took his medicine. She held his hand as he writhed in pain all night. She cleaned his soiled linens. Finally when he died he showed his gratitude for her honest and devoted care by giving her a small monetary gift.
For the first time in her short troubled life she had some money. She had never had any fancy clothes or fancy food. She had never dated any young boys. She had never gone dancing or to the disco. What should she do with her new wealth?
First, she built her mother a Sari-Sari store. Then she gave her stepfather a used pedicab. She then put the rest of the money in the bank and went back to school. She graduated from high school and is now enrolled in Silliman University. She is helping her sisters get their education. She is determined to become a nurse. She is equally determined to rebuild her shattered family. She is an “Everyday Hero”.
I could tell you her name but she doest not want the attention. Her story is just one of thousands of hard working, honest and compassionate Filipinas and Filipinos. She and they are the real faces of the Philippines.